Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires in Brazil, Anatoliy Tkach, demanded an “official expression of solidarity” of the Brazilian government with Kiev and the country’s condemnation of Russia’s “aggression” against its territory.
“We are still waiting for the official expression of solidarity [from the Brazilian government] along with messages in favor of [the Russians] ceasing their aggression,” Mr. Tkach, the most senior Ukrainian diplomat in Brasília, told reporters. “In personal contacts with Brazilian diplomats, we are hearing this solidarity.”
The Ukrainian diplomat’s remarks came moments after the release of a note from Brazil’s Foreign Ministry calling for “the immediate suspension of hostilities and the beginning of negotiations conducive to a diplomatic solution to the issue […] and taking into account the legitimate security interests of all parties involved and the protection of the civilian population.”
The target of a Russian attack by land, sea and air since the early hours of Thursday, however, Ukraine has shown that it expects a more forceful manifestation from the Brazilian government against Moscow.
In the interview, via videoconference, Mr. Tkach mentioned at least four other times this expectation.
“We are in contact with Brazilian authorities and we are expecting Brazil to condemn this Russian attack on Ukraine,” he said. “What we expect from all countries is the condemnation of the attack and help to Ukraine,” he continued, explaining that the country needs both humanitarian and financial aid, fuel, food and armaments.
“We expect the Brazilian government to speak out and condemn this Russian aggression,” he said.
At another point, also asked about the Brazilian position, he replied, “Right now we need strong signals to convince Russia to back down and cease hostilities. [We need] condemnation of Russia’s actions.”
The diplomat then said that Ukraine would like the international community to levy sanctions against Moscow.
Asked what kind of sanctions Brazil could apply, he said, “First, we need a strong signal against aggression.”
Last week, President Jair Bolsonaro was in Moscow for a visit that displeased the United States in particular. In a statement, the White House even said that Brazil seems to be “on the other side of where the global community stands.”
Mr. Tkach said that the Ukrainian government even expressed to the Foreign Ministry the desire that President Bolsonaro also visit Kiev last week, to “balance” the visit.
“We were hoping at that moment that the president of Brazil would visit Ukraine,” he said, adding that there had been talks for a visit of Mr. Bolsonaro to the country since 2019.
In Moscow, Mr. Bolsonaro also expressed “solidarity” with Russia. The diplomat was asked whether this displeased Ukraine.
“We do not know in what context [Mr. Bolsonaro] expressed solidarity. But we do know that during the visit the Brazilian president expressed a desire for a peaceful solution,” he said. “Putin stated [to Mr. Bolsonaro] that he was working for a peaceful solution. But Ukraine knows that the word of the Russian president is worth nothing.”
According to Mr. Tkach, the country has been prepared since 2014 for a “Russian aggression,” it just didn’t know exactly when it would occur. He further stated that there are currently 200,000 Russian troops on the borders with Ukraine and recommended that all Ukrainian citizens who are outside the country stay where they are.
According to him, “before the Russian aggression, massive cyberattacks against websites of the Ukrainian authorities took place.” And he said that the goal of Russian “aggression” is “to seize Ukrainian territory and establish control of the occupation.”
“This is war. It is an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a violation of the Charter of the United Nations,” he said. “We are making all diplomatic efforts to end this aggression as soon as possible.”
On another front, also in Brasília, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, Douglas Koneff, called for unity and firmness on the part of democratic nations against Russia’s “threat” to the “basic principles” of international law.
“Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and internationally recognized borders is an unprovoked and unjustified attempt to upend the basic principles of international law,” Mr. Koneff said during a news conference.
“We must stand firm and united against such a threat, which violates not only European security, but the security of people across the world. We must remain united to support Ukraine, and the right of all sovereign nations to choose their own paths, free from the threat of coercion, subversion or invasion.”
Mr. Koneff is the top representative of American diplomacy in Brazil since the departure of former ambassador Todd Chapman, who retired in August last year and has not yet been replaced. Democratic activist Elizabeth Bagley has already been nominated by President Joe Biden, but has yet to be approved by the Senate.
As the chargé d’affaires recalled, respect for the territorial integrity of all nations is at the root of the international order. “The U.S. continues to believe that diplomacy is the way for nations to resolve differences. Together with the international community and democratic nations everywhere, we clearly and firmly call for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy,” he said.
In contrast to the main leaders of the West, who immediately condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Jair Bolsonaro remained silent Thursday about the Russian attacks. At the moment that bombings were hitting several regions of the Eastern European country, the Brazilian president went to São Paulo to participate in a motorcycle rally and construction inaugurations. In the evening, when he learned that Vice President Hamilton Mourão had said that Brazil did not agree with the invasion, he discredited the vice president and emphasized that the country’s position is up to the president.
“Article 84 of the Constitution says that the one who speaks on this matter is the president. And the president’s name is Jair Messias Bolsonaro. And that’s it. So, with all due respect to this person who said this, he is talking about something that should not, that is not within his competence,” he complained, during a live broadcast on social media.
Alongside Chancellor Carlos França in the broadcast, President Bolsonaro reiterated what he had said before the worsening of the crisis, advocating peace. However, he avoided opining on the Russian attack.
“We want peace, we traveled in peace to Russia, we made exceptional contact with President Putin, we settled the issue of fertilizers for Brazil. We are dependent on fertilizers from Russia and Belarus,” he said, mentioning the trip last week. “And the most important country in the world is called Brazil, I am president of Brazil. We will do everything in our power for peace. So the one who is talking about these issues is called Jair Messias Bolsonaro, no one else is talking. Whoever is talking is taking a stab at what is not his place.”
Source: Valor International